SI.com - Olympics - Beijing weather leaves Oly officials in haze - Wednesday June 27, 2007 8:22PM Even by Beijing standards -- the city is one of Asia's most polluted -- Wednesday stood out. By early afternoon, a thick haze significantly reduced visibility. At street level, soot and humid air produced a fog of pollution.This is sorta funny to me. When we were in China, mostly in another part -- the southwestern part -- the drivers didn't use their headlights in the evening or nights. It makes no sense for the drivers in China to turn on their car's headlights at night when there are streetlights in the city.
After several days with temperatures hovering near 100 degrees, a rainstorm cooled but further darkened the city with vehicles using headlights most of the afternoon.
The act of shutting down the factories in the period of the Olympics will work wonders.
I've blogged about this before somewhere. When we first arrived in China, it was in the first week of May. They have a major week of holiday the first week. Everyone is encouraged to travel to different parts of China. The schools are shut and so too are the big factories. It is a national holiday. May Day and beyond. This is a new holiday as well.
On May 8, I awoke in the middle of the night and it seemed as if there was a house fire down the street. The air was dirty -- like that of a not too distant fire.
There was no fire. The vacation was over. People were back to work.
Throughout our months there, we could generally see the moon two to four times a month. These were on windy days. Otherwise, the smog was such that the moon was not visible.
My worry would not be for the elite athletes. There will be a 'level playing field.' Everyone gets to compete in the same 'air.' The top level athletes will be fine.
Beijing's filthy air is one of the biggest concerns of the International Olympic Committee and 2008 Olympic organizers, who worry that elite athletes may be unable to perform under such conditions.
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